Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Biomedical Sciences

First Major Professor

Suzanne Millman


Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Sciences


Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) encompasses a variety of therapeutic techniques involving horses, and it is used by health professionals to treat physical, mental, or emotional disorders. Recently, EAAT has been utilized in cases of depression, a serious health concern that can lead to significant decreases in health and overall quality of life. It is predicted that EAAT would alleviate symptoms of depression, and the purpose of this review is to analyze research to determine if EAAT is an appropriate treatment option for depression. Four studies were found that directly measured levels of depression in association with EAAT treatment. The neurophysiology of depression is described; in addition, research involving exercise, humananimal bonding, and other forms of animal-assisted therapy are considered when evaluating EAAT and depression. Based on these studies, the author concludes that current research only shows trends that depression is alleviated with EAAT, and there is a lack of data demonstrating a significant effect of EAAT on depression. However, there is an indication that EAAT with horseback riding, and consequently higher levels of physical exercise, exerts a more significant effect on helping depressed individuals

Copyright Owner

Annalisa Brandt

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